Arts and Entertainment Will.i.am onstage at the Capital FM Summertime Ball at Wembley in London.

Will.i.am, Ed Sheeran and Mumford & Sons are among the stars who have recorded new versions of celebrated protest songs to highlight issues of global poverty.

ROCK / She belted me with her hits, and I loved it

AS foregone conclusions go, the Pretenders' concert at Brixton Academy on Wednesday ranked with the Labour leadership contest. Last of the Independents (WEA) is one of their best albums and Chrissie Hynde has put her political concerns on the backburner in order to hot up her musical career. She wasn't likely to screw up her first major tour for eight years, and she didn't.

Media Viewpoint: Music to slash your wrists by

If ever there was an area of the arts crying out for Prozac, it's country music. These dirges of self-loathing and self- longing, emanating from deep cleavages and checked shirts, are a depressive's dream. Wherever a Dolly Parton song breasts into earshot, thoughts of wrist-slashing creep to mind. Country music is emotional, mental and spiritual Hades.

ROCK / Costello and the distractions

NO WONDER Elvis Costello and the Attractions broke up. Costello must have got tired of being upstaged all the time. The worst culprit is Steve Nieve, the keyboard player. Costello wears a black jacket and specs; Nieve sports a spotlight-catching white jacket and shades. Costello swaps from acoustic to electric guitar between songs; Nieve flits between three different synthesisers in as many bars. As befits the musical director of Jonathan Ross's Incredibly Strange Film Show, Nieve is a cross between Igor and the Phantom of the Opera. He ducks and pounces from keyboard to keyboard, bursting into the arrangement with two-handed chromatic scales, circus swirls, and boogie-woogie frills. So that's why Costello always looks so angry. I bet he never had this trouble with the Brodsky Quartet.

Man is held after five are shot at pop festival

A MAN was being questioned by police last night after five people were shot at the Glastonbury pop festival.

Too many people are paid to have opinions

'WHAT WAS going on between me and the record company,' observed Mark King of the pop group Level 42 in a recent interview, 'was exactly the same as what goes on in Bosnia or Northern Ireland.' Which means that what goes on in Bosnia - and those who have spent months struggling with news reports will be eternally grateful to Mr King for the clarification - is that someone (the Croats?) made a record that someone else (the Serbs? the Muslims?) didn't like, and they wouldn't release it, and then it all got right out of hand, and. . . well, you know the rest.

COMEDY / Outsider trading: James Rampton meets Greg Proops, an American in Barrow-in-Furness and the latest graduate of the Whose Line academy

Greg Proops is an American stand-up perplexed by the British. 'It's your apologetic nature that's so weird,' he muses, 'that over-developed sense of embarrassment. On the London Underground, there are these signs that say, 'If you don't pay your fare, everyone is gonna look at you'. The idea of that as an ad campaign on, say, the New York Subway is ridiculous. They'd just shout, 'I don't care who's looking at me, I'll shoot 'em'.'

Riffs: Tasmin Archer on the range of Elvis Costello's 'All Grown Up'

MY interpretation is that this is about a young girl who is looking at her life and is disappointed, and she's become really bitter. It reminds me of when I was a teenager and used to daydream about what I'd like to do - marrying, having kids, being a singer-songwriter. I think a lot of girls can identify with the girl in the song, because more than men they tend to get introverted when they're knocked back, they think 'I'm never going out with anyone again' sort of thing.

I used to have a recurring nightmare; these days I get melodies in my mind: Susan de Muth in bed with Tasmin Archer

TASMIN ARCHER, 30, is a singer/songwriter. She was voted this year's 'Best Newcomer' at the Brit Awards. She lives near Leeds with a fellow band member, John Hughes. Her new EP, 'Shipbuilding', is released today on the EMI label.

ROCK / Juliet strings Elvis along

FIRST JOHN Cale, now Elvis Costello, and in two weeks, believe it or not, Duran Duran; these days no self-respecting rock visionary leaves the house without a string quartet. It's not just high cultural Brownie points they're after, but freedom from the tyranny of the back-beat. Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet emerge from the wedding cake splendour of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, with a real sense of liberation. Over the last decade Costello's talent has atrophied, but the ponderous-seeming conceit of The Juliet Letters has miraculously restored his lightness of spirit.

ROCK / Pushing back the envelope: Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet, live

'THIS is the first night of the Juliet Letters tour,' says Elvis Costello, standing on the stage of Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall with the Brodsky Quartet around him. 'And boy, are we nervous.' And at this point, people in the auditorium are looking a bit twitchy too, if only because, in the venue's tensed hush, it's painfully obvious that someone, somewhere, at some point, is going to call out for 'Oliver's Army'.

Flares: the comeback (walking back to happiness)

I WAS a schoolboy in short trousers the last time it happened; a little kid living in a pre- adolescent dream of bubblegum cards and catapults. So don't ask me how it happened. One day it just did; one day, everything was fine, and the next day, something had changed in the section of the national consciousness that deals with trousers. By the time I was old enough to choose my own clothes, the whole thing was already stitched up. Flares were the norm.

RECORDS / Rock: Paul McCartney - Off the Ground (Parlophone PCSD 125)

Paul McCartney Produces Album Not Entirely Devoid Of Interest Shock] The unspeakable single 'Hope of Deliverance' was obviously a cunning ploy to lull his admirers into a false sense of insecurity, because among the usual tame rockers and anodyne smooch-fests here, there is actually the odd surprise. 'Mistress and Maid', one of two songwriting collaborations with Elvis Costello, speaks up for dissatisfied womanhood - something of a departure for both parties - and on the Animal Experiments Are Bad shocker 'Looking for Changes', Paul is actually heard to use the word 'bastard'. The album finishes on a real upward curve with the spirited 'Winedark Open Sea' and a couple of treats for fans of McCartney's old band. The otherwise ludicrous 'C'mon People' ('Call all the minstrels from the ancient shrine' indeed) boasts a lovely big orchestral finale with George Martin conducting; the concluding Lennonist romp 'Cosmically Conscious' is a real blast from the past.

Academic waxes lyrical about pop's meaning: David Lister finds the message in the medium as musicologists join for an evening of deconstruction

WEDNESDAY night at the Royal Festival Hall. And all musical life was there. On stage the BBC Symphony Orchestra was performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 5. In a neighbouring room nearly 100 musicologists were analysing a recording of punk rock star Poly Styrene singing 'Oh Bondage] Up Yours'.

ARTS / Take a Letter, Mr Costello: Elvis Costello, rock's Mr Sneery, has a new band. There are four of them, and they all play strings. Their first LP could have been awful. But it's excellent - and genuinely new

THE CALL from San Francisco made Elvis Costello's day. Ten years ago, the news that a mainstream West Coast pop radio station had put two of his latest songs on its playlist would not have caused his heart to beat a little faster; today, in the bar of a Holland Park hotel, he can't conceal his glee. 'That's great,' he chuckles down the phone. 'Both 'Romeo's Seance' and 'Jacksons, Monk and Rowe'. There'll be crowds at the airport]'
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her